Stories Through Nature: Revisiting the Past

Written by Antonia; August 16, 2020

Jerusalem Thorn

(Parkinsonia aculeata)


This tree was on a trail I sometimes walked back in high school during my weekly Austin Youth River Watch meetings. We didn’t walk down this path very often, but the few times that we did, it was always a beautiful sight and I have pleasant memories of exploring the area with my friends. Had it been a normal year, I probably would have come out here with those friends to film this. But it isn’t a normal year and it has been a while since the last time I saw any of my friends in person. Instead, my parents gave me a ride and waited in the car and, while the resulting silence was nice, I couldn’t help but wish I had someone there to share the scenery with.

It was hot outside, despite my best efforts to get there early enough so that the cool temperatures from the night before still lingered in the air. Even though it was a bit uncomfortable, I still took a moment to stop and breathe. As I walked along the trail and looked out onto the familiar landscapes I had explored in my final year of high school, I was reminded that, while my life had completely changed in a matter of days, I could still relive my memories through nature. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return again with my friends someday soon.


Photo: Seeds and leaves of a Jerusalem Thorn    Photo: Flowers of a Jerusalem Thorn


Unfortunately, the leaves dried a bit before I was able to take a photo. The leaf on the far right shows how this trees’ leaves are pinnately compound, as the leaflets are on both sides of the petiole. The fruit of this tree, on the far left, is a legume with many seeds. This tree also produces yellow flowers, which I didn’t get a good picture of, so I’m providing a photo from the internet (credits at end of blog post).



Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at

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